12.00 Healing Heritage: A Case Study Toward Decolonizing Commemoration
In anticipation of the “Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada,” this paper will examine Canada’s federal place-based heritage infrastructure and will critique the policy and practice of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) relative to its engagements with the history of Indian residential schools (Ios) and difficult heritage in general. Interpreting Ios survivor-led commemoration and heritage practices as healing and decolonizing, and drawing on art-as-resistance and social activism-oriented models of commemoration and counter-commemoration, I will examine alternative approaches to collective remembering and forgetting within the context of genocide, atrocity, and historic trauma. I will argue for a needed shift from dominant heritage paradigms that bind heritage with conservation, to emergent approaches that recognize heritage as a healing practice. In conclusion, I will present a series of recommendations to move toward bridging the gap between state practices of heritage, and the needs of Survivors and other Ios stakeholders.